Nanking documentary opens in Nanjing
The western documentary Nanking, based on the book The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), has been creating quite a positive stir in Nanjing, the city formerly known as Nanking.
The documentary looks at the events during World War II which saw the mass murder of people in the Chinese city of Nanking by invading Japanese soldiers. Chinese estimates put the killings at some 300,000 while the 1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunal place the killings at a smaller, but still frightening, 155,000.
Nanking mixes archive footage with voiceovers and readings from various actors such as Woody Harrelson, Stephen Dorff, Juergen Prochnow, Mariel Hemingway and John Getz, and tells the story of the foreigners who tried to protect Chinese residents from the slaughter.
This story still raises tensions between the two countries with some believing that Japan has yet to atone for these events, and while China wishes films such as these to portray their events, they are also aware of the large trade between their country and Japan.
According to the Xinhua news agency through Variety the film has been received well in Nanjing with all the major cinemas opening with it and some theatres showing it twelve times in one day.
A local apparently paid for over a thousand people to see the film, costing him some US$1,000, while two cinemas reduced their prices from 25 yuan to 10 yuan to ensure that more people saw the film.
Painful history aside for the moment, it is interesting to hear of a western made documentary about foreign events doing so well abroad. Particularly in the city and country that features in the film.